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When should I claim on pet insurance?

Has your cat or dog got into a scrape, or do they need treatment for a medical condition? If so, it may be worth claiming on your pet insurance. Here’s our guide to what’s usually covered, when to make a claim and how to go about it.

Has your cat or dog got into a scrape, or do they need treatment for a medical condition? If so, it may be worth claiming on your pet insurance. Here’s our guide to what’s usually covered, when to make a claim and how to go about it.

Written by
Mubina Pirmohamed
Insurance comparison expert
Last Updated
25 APRIL 2023
5 min read
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What can I claim for on my pet insurance?

Every pet insurance policy is different, depending on the insurance provider and type of policy you have. But you may be able to claim for:

  • Veterinary costs if your pet has an accident
  • Treatment costs if your pet is ill
  • Compensation if your pet dies
  • Compensation if you lose your pet – plus advertising costs (and possibly the cost of a reward) to help find your pet
  • Liability insurance – for example, if your dog causes an injury or property damage
  • Boarding costs if you’re too ill to look after your pet
  • Emergency treatment for your pet when you’re abroad.

What can’t I claim for on pet insurance?

Again, each policy has its own exclusions, but most pet insurance providers won’t cover:

If you don’t have a policy that includes immediate pet insurance cover, there may be a waiting period before you can claim. For example, you might not be able to claim for any illness your pet develops within 14 days of taking out the policy.

You’ll also need to pay an excess – this is the amount you pay towards any insurance claim. If you have a co-payment policy, where you pay a percentage of each claim, you’ll need to pay this on top of the excess.

How soon can you claim on pet insurance?

Ideally, you should make your insurance claim straight away, whether your pet has an accident, is diagnosed with an illness or you’ve had to pay vet fees in an emergency.

Your insurance provider might place a time limit on making a claim – 30 days, for example – so check your policy for details. Some policies pay the vet directly, so you’re not left out of pocket.

How to claim on pet insurance?

The first step is to check your policy documents to make sure your claim is covered. If you’re not sure, get in touch with your insurance provider. You’ll find the phone number on your policy documents or your insurance provider’s website.

You might be able to complete the process online or you may have to call them to get your claim moving. Most insurance providers let you download a pet insurance claim form from their website, which you can complete and email to them. If you’re not sure how to answer a question, call your insurance provider.

Your vet may need to complete certain sections of the form. If so, take it into the surgery as soon as possible (your vet might charge for this). Your vet may also send the claim form to your insurance provider on your behalf.

Your insurance provider is likely to ask for:

  • Details about you and your pet, including its microchip number
  • Information about the illness, injury or condition you’re claiming for
  • Your pet’s diagnosis and treatment – your vet might need to provide this information
  • Treatment costs – again, your vet may need to provide these
  • Invoices and receipts
  • Details of what you’re claiming for if it doesn’t involve vet fees – for example, a lost pet or boarding fees.

Check to see if your insurance provider pays the vet directly or you need to settle the bill and claim back the cost. 

Does claiming on pet insurance increase your premium

Unfortunately, making a claim is likely to increase your premium going forward. This is because your insurance provider might take the view that if you’ve made one claim, you’re more likely to make another. The same is true if you claim for accidents or losing your pet.

It’s worth remembering that insurance providers take into account your pet’s health history when considering your insurance application. So, you may find you’re quoted a higher price than you were expecting.

And they’re unlikely to cover a pre-existing condition like a long-term illness. That’s why, when you come to renew, it makes sense to shop around and make sure you’re getting a good deal.

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Frequently asked questions

Is it worth claiming on my pet insurance?

It certainly could be, but there are a couple of factors you need to weigh up when deciding whether to claim. Claiming on your pet insurance is likely to raise your premium. You’ll also need to take into account any excess and/or co-payment you need make. So, if it’s a small bill, it might be worth paying for treatment yourself.

How long does it take to get a payout for a pet insurance claim?

Processing a pet insurance claim is usually straightforward and your payout should take between seven and 10 working days. If you’d like an estimated date for the payout, call your insurance provider. Depending on who you’re with, you may be able to track your claim’s progress online.

Could a delay in telling the insurance provider cause problems?

Possibly. Any delay in informing your insurance provider could delay the processing of your claim and mean you may have to wait longer for a pay out.

And if you don’t claim within any set time limit, your claim may not be paid. Time limits for claiming can vary among providers, so check your policy as soon as you need to make a claim.

Why might a pet insurance claim be rejected?

There are a number of reasons your claim might be rejected. It may be because the condition you’re claiming for is considered to be pre-existing or to have developed during the waiting period when you’re not eligible to claim.

Your claim may also be rejected if it falls outside of the cover period in a time-limited policy.

Can I get a no-claims bonus on my pet insurance?

Not usually. Many providers don’t offer no-claims discounts on pet insurance as they don’t want to discourage people from taking their pets to the vet if they need treatment.

What should I do if my claim is rejected?

If you’re not happy with the outcome of your claim, contact your insurance provider and explain why you think the rejection was unfair. Your insurance provider should have its own complaints process you can follow.

If you’re still not happy with the outcome, you can contact the Financial Ombudsman.

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